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Short Description: Recently, there has been a great deal of research on the socialization of children's emotions and self-regulation. In the present study, the specific strategies that mothers use to help their young children regulate their emotional responses

Content Inside: Mothers' Regulation Strategies in Response to Toddlers' Affect: Links to Later Emotion Self-Regulation Tracy L. Spinrad, The Arizona State University, Cynthia A. Stifter, Nancy Donelan-McCall, and Laura Turner, The Pennsylvania State University Abstract Recently, there has been a great deal of research on the socialization of children's emotions and self-regulation. In the present study, the specific strategies that mothers use to help their young children regulate their emotional responses were examined using a longitudinal design. Forty-three mothertoddler pairs were observed when toddlers were both 18 and 30 months of age, and mothers' attempts to regulate their toddlers' emotions during several emotion-eliciting tasks were transcribed from videotape. When the children were 5 years old, their responses to a disappointment task were observed. Results indicated a relation between mothers' regulation strategies in toddlerhood and children's facial and behavioral responses to the disappointment task measured at 5 years of age. Specifically, mothers' use of regulation strategies at 30 months, but not at 18 months, was positively related to children's appropriate emotional displays in response to disappointment. Moreover, the specific types of strategies that mothers used had differential associations to children's responses to disappointment. Findings are discussed in terms of the potentially important role of mothers' behaviors in the development of children's emotion self-regulation. Keywords: emotion regulation; socialization; maternal strategies Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in children's emotion regulation, and this capacity is believed to play a major role in children's social competence (Cassidy, Parke, Butkovsky, & Braungart, 1992; Eisenberg & Fabes, 1992, 1998; Saarni, Mumme, & Campos, 1998) and problem behaviors (Eisenberg et al., 2001). It has been proposed that emotion regulation develops and becomes more autonomous over the second and third years of life as a result of changes in children's cognitive and language abilities (Kopp, 1989). Consistent with this notion, toddlers have been found to use more self-regulation of emotion than younger infants (Bridges & Grolnick, 1995; Mangelsdorf, Shapiro, & Marzolf, 1995; Parritz, 1996). Moreover, in childhood, as Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tracy Spinrad, Department of Family and Human Development, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2502, USA. Email: tspinrad@asu.edu. Nancy Donelan-McCall is now at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Laura Turner is now at the Psychology Department, Roger Williams University. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2004. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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